The famous snow-capped peaks of the Alps are fading fast and being replaced by vegetation cover — a process called “greening” that is expected to accelerate climate change, a study said Thursday.
The research, published in Science, was based on 38 years of satellite imagery across the entirety of the iconic European mountain range.
“We were very surprised, honestly, to find such a huge trend in greening,” first author Sabine Rumpf, an ecologist at the University of Basel, told AFP.
Greening is a well-recognized phenomenon in the Arctic, but until now hadn’t been well established over a large scale in mountainous areas.
However, since both the poles and mountains are warming faster than the rest of the planet, researchers suspected comparable effects.
Greening happens in three different ways: Plants begin growing in areas they previously weren’t present, they grow taller and more densely due to favorable conditions, and finally, particular species growing normally at lower altitudes move into higher areas.
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